Monday, July 02, 2007

The Logic of Intuition

There is an inherent complexity when considering the usefulness and appropriateness of applying intuitive thought processes to a situation. One the one hand (quite likely the left), there is the increasing evidence that to "go with your gut" is not only a good thing, it may be one of the best things one can do. On the other hand, for those of us who prefer to think and act with logic on our side, intuition is, by definition, quite outside the realm of reason. That can cause problems when evidence and rational thinking point one direction and intuitive insights point another.

Reconciling both points of view can be a tough fence to sit, and it's a position made even more precarious when we consider legal and ethical matters. For me, however, it's quite as unreasonable to ignore intuition as it is to ignore logic, and I'm becoming increasingly aware of others who feel the same.

Unfortunately, the question of how to appropriately incorporate both kinds of thinking without seeming flaky, wandering off the legal/ethical high road, or becoming completely schizoid is a topic I don't find discussed nearly often enough. When I do find it discussed, I'm rarely satified with how well the arguments explore the more troublesome gray areas when intuition is met with conflicting evidence.

When I used to troubleshoot issues for other people for a living and ran across a difficult issue for which no one else had an answer, the way seemed clear - it was up to me to gnaw at it until I worked out the answer. That approach seems to be needed here. It's definitely a work in progress and I think best when I get input from others, so feel free to contribute your thoughts and ideas.

Given that there are lots of aspects to this matter - a series of questions rather than a single question to be explored - I'm thinking it's best started like this, though please be assured I have a great many more thoughts on the subject that I hope to surface through this process of thinking out loud. Hopefully my mental meanderings will generate some useful food for thought.

And I do hope you'll participate in the process. You can start by sending me the questions you have about how logic and intuition fit (or don't fit) together to as well as any examples of issues that have arisen from ignoring one or the other.

What does logical intuition look like?

Kimm Viebrock is an ICF-credentialed Associate Certified Coach who helps technology professionals and service-oriented technology groups develop and use their skills more effectively and increase their value within the larger organization, allowing them to do more, do it better and have more fun doing it. Kimm is devoted to finding the connectedness in life.